The Israel Philharmonic was founded in 1936 by Bronisław Huberman, and its inaugural concert in December 1936 was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. The IPO plays in subscription series in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa, and in special concerts and series throughout Israel. The IPO regularly tours the world’s cultural centers and festivals, and made its debut presented by the San Francisco Symphony in July 1984 under Zubin Mehta.
Israel’s creative artists are promoted by many IPO premieres of works by Israeli composers, and the IPO has contributed to the absorption of new immigrants and includes in its ranks new immigrant musicians. The orchestra has hosted the world’s greatest conductors and soloists, as well as young talents from Israel and abroad. As part of KeyNote, the IPO’s music education and outreach program, IPO musicians perform in numerous schools and concerts for school pupils at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv. In 1969, Zubin Mehta was appointed music advisor to the IPO, and in 1977 he became music director. Mr. Mehta retired in October 2019 and following his retirement, the IPO named him music director emeritus. Lahav Shani became music director in the 2020–21 season.